Day 9 – Goodness and Mercy
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. Ps 23:6
This final verse is divided into two sections. The psalmist speaks of two kinds of blessings: temporal and eternal. In this lesson, we will look at the first. “All the days of my life” refers to his earthly life which eventually came to an end.
David wrote with assurance that “goodness and mercy shall follow” him. Where did this assurance come from? We can look back to the opening phrase of the psalm for the answer: “the Lord is my shepherd.” As we said about this verse, it states the condition for receiving the blessings we read about in this psalm. If the Lord is your shepherd, you can expect to see his goodness and His mercy follow you. But in the big picture, the choice is yours.
The goodness of God is a natural part of a life spent with Him. Just the way that God is love, so God is good – goodness is a part of His very nature. In Him there is no darkness (1John 1:5), and He is incapable of evil. And so when you intentionally choose to stay close Him, you can’t help but experience that goodness. This doesn’t mean that you won’t see any evil or distress. It simply means that regardless of what else you are experiencing, you can also count on His goodness – always!
His mercy is also central to His very essence. The Hebrew word used here carries the meanings of love, strength, and steadfastness. This, along with the fact that it is often translated “lovingkindness” shows the richness of the word. It covers God’s love, mercy, goodness, faithfulness and strength. To think that these will follow a person every day is nothing short of over the top! But this is the beauty of staying close to God – really being a disciple of Him – everything that He is, every facet of His being is available to touch our lives. And not just for our sake, but for those around us. The fact that His goodness and mercy follow us means that our lives will exemplify goodness and mercy to people we intersect with.
So here we see something about the God-life we’re called to live: His blessings aren’t just blessings for us – they bring responsibilities with them. This is seen clearly in the Fruit of the spirit in Gal 5:22-23. The fruit of goodness, love, joy and peace are not just for us, but for others. Thank God they follow us so we can give them away!
What is your view of God – is it one of pure and total goodness?
How could you better demonstrate the goodness and mercy of God in your life towards others?